EVs to shift emissions focus beyond the tailpipe

As vehicles adopt electric propulsion, the majority of particulate matter emissions will come not from the exhaust but from areas like tyres and brakes, writes Megan Lampinen

The pandemic has been hailed as an opportunity for a widespread mobility re-set and a chance to build back in a better, greener, more inclusive manner. So far most of these ‘green’ efforts have centred on stimulus measures for production and sales of electric and fuel cell vehicles. Such vehicles are touted as zero-emission, but that’s only from a tailpipe perspective.

All vehicles produce non-exhaust particulate matter (PM) emissions, and significant amounts of it. These primarily come from the wear down of tyres, brakes and road surfaces along with the resuspension of dust kicked up as the vehicle runs over the road. While tailpipe emissions have been tightly regulated, and with good effect, non-exhaust emissions have largely gone under the radar. Until now.

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